Accessible Golf, Anyone?

Are most golf courses accessible? Well they are flat and level and have pathways for golf carts, so they sound accessible, right? Well not according to Richard Thesing, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Marriott Corp.

Says Thesing, “I just want to have the same opportunity as everyone else to patronize Marriott’s courses and get out and play 18 holes with my friends and colleagues. The only way I can do that is with an adaptable cart.”

In fact that is what the whole lawsuit is about. Thesing wants golf courses to provide accessible golf carts for their disabled patrons. These single-rider golf carts feature hand controls and seats that can be rotated and tilted. Golfers can drive them out on the green and take a swing at the ball without ever having to transfer out of the vehicle. They really are pretty nifty.

Their price tag is pretty nifty too. Around $8000 each, as compared to $2000 or so for a standard golf cart. Which is why golf courses are hesitant to provide them.

The Access Board is also considering adding wording to the ADAAG that would require golf courses to provide at least one (perhaps two) accessible golf carts. But the government moves slowly, which in the end is the reason for letting the courts decide what’s accessible.

No damages are asked for in the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are only seeking an injunction to require the defendants to provide accessible golf carts at all of their golf courses.

Time will tell as to how this will all play out.